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Britain's David Cameron visits Saudi Arabia

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:11 AM EST, Fri January 13, 2012
British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since he took office, Downing Street said Friday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since he took office, Downing Street said Friday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cameron is in Riyadh for talks with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and Crown Prince Nayef
  • It is the British prime minister's first visit there since taking office in 2010
  • Saudi Arabia is Britain's biggest trading partner in the Middle East

London (CNN) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Saudi Arabia, an important British partner in the Middle East, for the first time since he took office, Downing Street said Friday.

Cameron has arrived in Riyadh, where he will meet with King Abdullah and Crown Prince Nayef later, his office said.

Security, the global economy and regional issues, such as the Syrian government's crackdown on protests, are likely to be on the agenda.

The leaders will also discuss ways to boost business ties between Britain and Saudi Arabia.

"Building a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia is vital to advancing the United Kingdom's priorities in the region: increasing exports and investment; boosting energy security and creating jobs; co-operating on security, counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism; and promoting stability through political reform and human rights," Downing Street said.

The visit follows talks between Cameron and Prince Saud Al Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September, the Downing Street statement said.

Saudi Arabia is Britain's largest trading partner in the Middle East, with bilateral trade worth over £15 billion ($23 billion) every year, the statement said, while Saudi investment in the United Kingdom is worth more than £62 billion ($95 billion).

Britain sees Saudi Arabia as a major market for the sale of military equipment and arms.

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